Lenny Breau-Style Comping/Soloing (Part 2)



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Lenny Breau-Style Comping/Soloing (Part 2) Class Content | Steve Herberman

This class looks at three and four note comping chords played beneath 8th note-based solo lines often played simultaneously (overlapping harmony and melody.) This adds a very pianistic effect to the guitarist’s toolbox associated commonly with bebop piano. Many guitarists think of Lenny Breau’s comping beneath his melodies as primarily being two note chords (essential tones.) Lenny often strived to play larger chords (comprised of three to four notes) which added further coloration to his music. The emphasis in this class is on rootless three and four note chordal structures that serve as a method to play with a bassist adding those roots. This puts the guitarist in the shoes of a bebop-style pianist which Lenny originated on the guitar. Balancing comping with soloing, a “two-handed” approach for guitar, will yield new melodic and rhythmic ideas helping the guitarist to edit one’s solo lines while making the music swing harder. Some of the examples are in keys that will encourage adding open string bass notes for use in a solo guitar context.

The class begins with II-V-I examples in both major and minor keys using the two basic types of harmonic rhythm. We will be adding to the essential tones on string sets 6 and 5 (or 5 and 4) by using 9ths on both adjacent and non-adjacent strings. This is only half of the equation since melody lines will be moving above these colorful comping chords. We will also look at using triads on adjacent string sets below the moving solo lines. Some of the examples use sustained chords while others employ staccato chords often on the off-beats for added swing.

The class ends with a 32-bar written solo over the often played standard tune It Could Happen To You played in the Lenny Breau-style (with three and four note comping chords below a solo line.)

Though this style of playing will challenge even the most experienced guitarist, it will be sure to make every guitarist a better overall musician through diligent practice of the material and concepts. Since some of the chords (with melodies on top) will require using all 5 fingers of the right hand simultaneously, this class is aimed at the fingerstyle guitarist who is looking to learn and hone this technique, improving both technique and musical expression.

  • Running time: 64 minutes
  • 8 pages of PDF material in standard notation and TAB
  • Bonus Live Q&A Included: 60 minutes
Full Class + Download
Lenny Breau-Style Comping/Soloing (Part 2) 01:04:25
Live Q&A on Facebook 00:59:57
Introduction 00:05:14
Ex 1 00:02:00
Ex 2 00:02:39
Ex 3 00:02:28
Ex 4 00:03:47
Ex 5 00:01:08
Ex 6 00:01:58
Ex 7 00:01:56
Ex 8 00:01:26
Ex 9 00:02:23
Ex 10 00:01:05
Ex 11 00:02:20
Ex 12 00:01:01
Ex 13 00:01:01
Ex 14 00:01:09
Ex 15 00:01:46
Ex 16 00:01:38
Ex 17 and 18 00:03:45
It Could Happen To You – Intro 00:01:01
It Could Happen To You – Performance 00:04:22
It Could Happen To You – 1st Page 00:01:54
It Could Happen To You – 1st Page Explained 00:04:09
It Could Happen To You – 2nd Page Explained 00:05:44
It Could Happen To You – 3rd Page Explained 00:01:00
It Could Happen To You – Chord Substitutions 00:02:29
It Could Happen To You – Performance with Backing Track 00:01:56
Outro Blues Performance 00:03:17

Additional information

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10 days, Stream only, Full Class

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